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Towards Minimally Conscious Cyber-Physical Systems: A Manifesto

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNTCS,volume 12607)


Incidents like the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in 2018 challenge the design of reliable and secure cyber-physical systems that operate in the real-world and have to cope with unpredictable external phenomena and error-prone technology. We argue that their design needs to guarantee minimal machine consciousness, which expresses that these systems must operate with full awareness of (the state of) their components and the environment. The concept emerged from our recent effort to develop a computational model for conscious behavior in robots, based on the theory of automata. Making systems ‘minimal machine conscious’ leads to more trustworthy systems, as it strengthens their behavioral flexibility in varying environments and their resilience to operation and cooperation failures of their components and as a whole. The notion of minimal machine consciousness has the potential to become one of the defining attributes of Industry 4.0.


  • Automata theory
  • Cyber-physical systems
  • Design philosophy
  • Industry 4.0
  • Minimal machine consciousness
  • SACA loop
  • Self-control

“We don’t need artificial cognitive agents. We need intelligent tools.”

D. C. Dennett [4], 2019

The research of the first author was partially supported by ICS AS CR fund RVO 67985807, programme Strategy AV21 “Hopes and Risks of the Digital Age” and the Karel Čapek Center for Values in Science and Technology (Prague, Czech Republic).

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Wiedermann, J., van Leeuwen, J. (2021). Towards Minimally Conscious Cyber-Physical Systems: A Manifesto. In: , et al. SOFSEM 2021: Theory and Practice of Computer Science. SOFSEM 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12607. Springer, Cham.

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